United Opposition all set to challenge rightwing regime responsible for autocratic policies and mass suffering
The call by 19 Opposition parties, which met on August 20 under invitation from Congress president Sonia Gandhi, to organise joint nationwide protests from September 20 to 30 is just the first step
In the turbulent days which the country is passing through, the dynamics of political developments would take swift turns and tides. In the politics of any country, there must be a reflection of agonies and aspirations of people. The rightward shift in India's life since the ascendance of RSS-BJP rule has intensified the sufferings of the people. There has been a pouring of promises by Narendra Modi but none of them were meant for the welfare of people. In the garb of ‘Sab ka saath, sab ka vikas’ they were paving the way for the corporates, both domestic and foreign, to loot the country.
Their understanding of Atmanirbhar Bharat is to surrender the earth, sky and also the interest of people to satisfy the limitless greed of the super-rich. The Indian economy is facing a huge crisis. Right from demonetization and GST, all prescriptions of the Modi govt grievously affected the living standards of the vast majority of masses.
Unemployment rate has grown to 9.17 percentage (CMIE, June, 2021), rate of inflation has reached to 12 percentage (Whole sale price, MoSPI, July, 2021). In the Global Hunger Index, Modi’s self-sufficient and prosperous India stands at the 94th place among 107 countries. All this happened not because of COVID-19, as claimed by stormtroopers of the government. The crisis is systemic and manmade, even though the finance minister depicted it as an act of God.
The RSS-BJP government, instead of addressing the peoples’ grievances, attempts to impose more hardships on them. The anti-farmer farm laws, the anti-worker labor codes, the Essential Defense Services Act, the General Insurance Nationalization (Amendment Act) and the series of selling off of the public sector show the real and anti-national face of the hypocritic regime. Through fanning up communalism and social conflicts, the RSS and its parivar has tried to hide the govt’s treacherous pro-corporate policies.
True to their fascist trait, the BJP government has tried to strangle down dissent and discussions. The monsoon session of the Parliament revealed their total disregard for the institution and its procedures. The way in which they passed the Bills exposed its contempt for the basic principles of democracy. Fascists would tolerate democracy and its structures including Parliament only to the extent that those institutions play to the tunes of their class interests. Such a scenario is undoubtedly alarming to a democracy and its future.
The meeting of 19 Opposition parties held on August 20 attains a huge significance in these circumstances. It was the manifestation of India developing political alertness towards the living conditions of the people. The Opposition meeting should be evaluated as a positive step in this regard. In a vast and varied country like India, the evolution of the political process would also be complex. Ideas and approaches of different forces and parties may not be alike.
The objective situation in the country reminds everyone that the country cannot wait indefinitely for the essential political actions that could bring confidence and hope to the people. More than 60 percent of the Indian people are opposed to the BJP government and its anti-people policies. But their voices are scattered. If those people would move to a united action plan, the country's politics can be changed. Such a change is inevitable for India, though not easy.
The political battle in 2024 is going to be decisive as far as the country's future is concerned. Sixty percent of the masses who stood against BJP in the previous election look towards various forces with a collective will to unseat the unwanted government of the day. It is a heavy task with its own specific complexities. Any political party with a commitment to secularism and democracy cannot keep away from this task. That journey has to be accomplished in a short span of time. The 19 parties meeting assumes more significance due to this reason also.
Those who attended the meeting called by the Congress President Sonia Gandhi are not expected to have unity in approach on every issue. Ideological and political differences may, of course, exist between them. But they all came together with a common understanding to fight a common enemy.
The call from the meeting to organize joint nationwide protest actions from September 20 to 30 is a commendable step in the country's political process. The 11-point charter of demands from the Opposition parties is focused on the burning issues of the people. It noticeably includes various demands raised by the peasants and workers in their ongoing struggle.
Many of the concerns of the most deprived sections of the society find their place in the charter of demands chalked out by the 19 Opposition parties. The left takes notice of it. This gives hope that the course of opposition parties' agitation would be mindful to the lives and struggles of the common people.
This can be the beginning of a great expedition to safeguard the people's basic interests and also to abide by country's fundamental principles. The ball has started rolling. We, the people of India, are to decide its future course.
Views are personal